And while I can absolutely assure you that there are no shortages in the supply of ‘Complete Athlete Development’ systems available, I can also positively promise that its rareness is something you simply must consider.
There are some books on Speed & Agility Training that contain fantastic information and practical steps for you to follow.
You can find DVD’s and video products that show you how to incorporate optimal Strength Training into the conditioning programs for your athletes.
And if you search hard (and long) enough, you’ll likely come across some resources that help you understand how to build maximal Coordination and Movement Skill into your youth participants, also.
But all of that (and then some) in one complete system?
I’m going to tell you about Tom – the young athlete who changed my life.
Exactly 7 years, 3 months and 5 days into my career as an Athletic Development Specialist, Tom walked into my training center with his Mom.
I had been prompted on the phone the week before.
"Tom had an accident when he was a child" I was told by Tom’s mother.
"He is a very bright boy, but the brain trauma he experienced has left him very uncoordinated and lacking some basic motor skills".
I wasn’t concerned. I had worked with young people just like this before and had always found that my brand of coordination-focused athletic development was perfect for re-instilling certain degrees of normal function.
As I watched Tom walk in with his Mom, nothing in particular seemed or looked too out of sorts.
Tom walked with a slight limp and his left arm rested at his side rather than moving in unison with his walking gait.
He looked a little nervous and unsure and I could see that he had rounded shoulders and a slight external rotation to his right hip (what can I say… I assess athletes right from the time they walk in the door!).
“It takes God a hundred years to make an oak, but it only takes Him two months to make a squash.” –President James Garfield
In our results-now, win at all costs, sports-crazed society, many athletes, coaches, parents, and professionals seem to have lost sight of the goal of sport and physical activity for growing young athletes. What is currently widely marketed as “athletic development” by individuals across the country is, in many instances, quick-fix training designed to show immediate results. While results are great, young athletes and their parents and coaches must be certain that such short-term improvements don’t compromise long term outcomes. The following represents an incomplete list of potential warning signs that may indicate that programming may be too short sighted in nature to be optimally effective.
1. Heavy emphasis on measureable assessments to demonstrate progress. Developing children will usually improve no matter what type of stimulus is introduced; the key is finding the optimal training approach. Testing eight year olds in the 40 yard dash or in the vertical leap may be acceptable, but developing an entire training program around such testing is laughable. Competent professionals are more interested in mechanics and the acquisition of steadily improving motor patterns rather than showing stunning improvements in “measurable” early on.
2. Short-term programming. Six and eight week programs are popular and certainly have their place in contemporary athletic development facilities; however, the main utility of such programs should be to introduce athletes, parents, and coaches to the long-term athlete development model. Beware any facility that does not offer long-term training plans, as it is impossible to effectively develop a young athlete with such a myopic approach.